Doing things strictly ‘by the book’ never was the method used by Evelyn and her husband of more than 60 years, John.
That’s fine. Being innovative helped make a very happy life for them. From the way she met John to the places they’ve lived, Evelyn explained how their life together was forged from a can-do attitude about most everything.
During World War II, she stayed busy at USO events; basically, helping soldiers on leave have a good time during their visits home.
Since there was a strict no-dating policy, Evelyn found a way to circumvent that.
“I took him to church,” she said. “It was love at first sight. He was a nice, clean-cut guy.”
Finding creative means for more than 60 years
That may have been the first instance where Evelyn and John were creative, but by no means would it be the last.
The first home they built was on some property they were leasing near 13 Mile Road and Woodward. Actually, the owner could have taken the property, but, “We just did it. John, he was full of pep and I was probably as crazy as he was.”
When John’s father heard of the plan, he immediately bought the land on the condition the son and his wife would pay him back.
“They were just two young kids that did not know what they were doing,” their daughter Barb said. “But there was a lot of love.”
A new way of changing addresses
Eventually, Beaumont Hospital was being built on nearby property. That meant Evelyn and John had to move. Literally, that’s what they did. They had the house physically moved a few miles away.
Evelyn was married to John for 62 years and had four children; daughters Barb and Nancy, plus sons Brian and John (who died a few years ago). Their desire to do things their way never changed with age. As time went on, they decided to purchase an old farmhouse in Almont. They weren’t crazy with the idea of it being so close to the road, so — of course — they had it moved about 100 feet up the driveway.
As it turned out, John decided to make some unique upgrades to their home. They were not only incredibly practical, but were also exceeding progressive for the mid-1980s. They added a first-floor laundry room, made extra-wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs (just in case) and included geothermal energy. They enjoyed that home for years, but as John died and Evelyn suffered a stroke, it was apparent the home had to be sold.
“It was so hard to sell it. My heart was just breaking, but it had to be done,” Evelyn said. “But the family who bought it had two little girls and they were so sweet.”